The Hammers secured a surprising, but well deserved, victory over Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.
Winning 2-0 courtesy of goals from Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate, the East London club put in a top class performance to secure victory. In head coach Slaven Bilic’s Premier League debut, he set his side out to press high up the pitch, and break quickly when possession was won. They were aided by some sloppy defending by the Arsenal back-line, and some poor decisions by Petr Cech on his debut in goal, but the club were worthy of the result.
The centre of the side was new signing Dimitri Payet, who was allowed free rein as the attacking playmaker alongside his harder working teammates. He interchanged with Diafra Sakho and Zarate along the front lone, but was alone in creating chances for the direct runners ahead of him. The summer signing is considered one of the best transfers of the summer, and although it was his debut in a new league with new teammates, he excelled in the victory with a display of real talent.
|Assists||Key Passes||Shots||Successful Dribbles||Crosses||Passes||Pass Accuracy||Touches|
Payet was central to the win, registering his first assist in English football with the glorious free-kick with Kouyate headed past Cech. He was the main outlet for the side when counter attacking, with his four successful dribbles the highest tally in the West Ham ranks - including a classy run which left Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the floor. He registered two key passes on top of his assist, as well as three crosses, but unlike many attacking players, he was not wasteful with his possession.
42 passes brought an impressive completion rate of 81%, and considering he was often in the final third of the pitch by himself, being pressured by Arsenal players, Payet did well to find a teammate on most occasions. He also touched the ball more times than any other West Ham player except goalkeeper Adrian, with 57, despite the fact that the Hammers were on the back foot for much of the game - with just 38% possession.
Impressively, Payet also assisted with the high pressing work wanted by Bilic, completing two tackles and defying his small stature by frequently harrying opponents on the edge of his box.
West Ham earned their victory in style, and the performance proved that Bilic’s team will be well up for any game they take to, and should prove a trick opponent for a number of bigger sides. Payet was central to this success, and having had such an impact in a defensive performance, it will be exciting when the Frenchman lines up in a side going out to dominate a game and attack for the entire 90 minutes.